He Is Six and She Is Three

Danny Earl Simmons provides a devastating child’s perspective on family in this poem.  I follow Dan’s blog so I don’t miss any of his poems when they are published.  (I’m a fan!)  His new chapbook is The Allness of Everything.  You can learn more about him and his poetry here.

He is six and she is three
when they’re sent to spend what’s left
of their innocence with their aunt,
the older sister of their now-dead mother –

beaten to death with the fists
of their now-imprisoned father
who loved them both with a rage

so red his bare knuckles bled
into their screaming mother’s face
until there were no screams left

while the six-year-old brother held
his three-year-old sister curled
all the way under the bottom bunk

as she sobbed until there was breath enough
to ask why their mommy just won’t be good
and why isn’t he crying, too.

– Danny Earl Simmons
First published in Eunoia Review